OSU knocks off No. 2 Kansas on the road, 85-80
BY KELLY HINES World Sports Writer
Saturday, February 02, 2013
2/03/13 at 5:48 AM
LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Forget history. Forget the road woes.
Ignoring the odds, Oklahoma State waltzed into formidable Allen Fieldhouse dreaming of an upset and escaped with a stunning 85-80 victory over No. 2 Kansas, which had won 33 straight at home.
“It’s hard for teams to come into their home court and get a victory,” said freshman point guard Marcus Smart, who celebrated with a back flip. “We’re one of the few teams that’s done it.
“Just going through our heads (afterward), we actually couldn’t believe we beat them.”
Travis Ford, who is 7-30 in Big 12 road games and entered Saturday with only one conference road win in the past three seasons, accomplished a feat legendary former coach Eddie Sutton never did. The victory was OSU’s first in Lawrence since 1989.
“Everybody has been talking about coach Ford not winning on the road,” Le’Bryan Nash said. “I think this should get the monkey off his back because it’s Kansas. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
The Jayhawks saw their nation-best streak of 18 consecutive wins halted as they suffered their first Big 12 loss.
“Oklahoma State hadn’t won on the road in a long time,” KU coach Bill Self said of his alma mater. “They came out and got comfortable, and they wanted to beat us so bad. We didn’t have the same desire to play them.”
Early in the game, Markel Brown was the epitome of comfortable, knocking down five straight 3-pointers. His traditional three-point play gave OSU a 14-point cushion midway through the first half.
“I came out, missed the first shot, and I kind of got down on myself,” Brown said. “My teammates said to keep shooting, so after I made my first shot — I think it was a 3-pointer — I just kept shooting and it kept going in.”
Despite Brown’s hot hand, the Jayhawks bounced back with a 7-0 run to trim the deficit to six going into halftime and a 12-2 spurt to retake the lead early in the second half.
Until the final two minutes, neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way. Nearly every time KU (19-2, 7-1 Big 12) seemed to be on the verge of pulling away, the Cowboys found a way to answer.
Down 66-62 with five minutes left, Phil Forte snagged a steal and, despite failing to hit from behind the arc on his previous seven attempts, nailed a 3-pointer. After another Jayhawk turnover, he tried another that came up short, but Michael Cobbins was there to dunk the rebound.
OSU (15-5, 5-3) didn’t trail again, but relied on its freshman star to carry the team in the closing minutes. Showing off an unseen facet of his game, Smart scored on four of his eight offensive rebounds, including two late putbacks that gave the Cowboys a huge five-point advantage with 1:35 left.
“I wasn’t surprised at all by it,” Brown said. “When we box out on the free-throw line, that’s why we put him at the bottom, because we know he’s a great rebounder.”
But Kansas wasn’t ready to surrender, scoring eight points in a flurry of a final minute. Andrew White III drained a 3-pointer, then stole a Smart pass and after being fouled hit a free throw to cut the lead to two.
The play gave the Jayhawks life and the raucous crowd renewed hope, but the Cowboys sank five of six free throws in the final 30 seconds, including a pair from an unfazed Forte after the margin was down to one point.
KU still had a fighting chance, down three with seven seconds remaining, but Smart stole the ball and threw down the court to Forte for a layup as time expired.
Brown finished with a season-high 28 points and Smart contributed 25. OSU relied on its supporting cast more than ever, including a couple of key rebounds from second-shortest player Kirby Gardner, big shots from Cobbins and valuable minutes from Christien Sager.
“We got what we deserved today,” Self said. “The better team won.”
Oklahoma State's Phil Forte celebrates his team's win over Kansas Saturday in Lawrence, Kansas. TRAVIS HEYING/Wichita Eagle/AP